Star Wars: War Of The Bounty Hunters #1 (August 2021)

Part I: Most Wanted

Writer: Charles Soule, Art: Luke Ross, Colours: Neeraj Menon

THE STAR WARS COMIC EVENT YOU’VE BEEN WAITING FOR! The notorious bounty hunter BOBA FETT has finally landed his greatest prize – HAN SOLO, frozen in carbonite for easy transport. Fett will bring the smuggler to TATOOINE to collect the massive bounty placed on Solo’s head by the fearsome crime lord JABBA THE HUTT. Sounds easy. What could go wrong?

Marvel.com official solicitation

The Star Wars comics have always had the ability to knowingly rock the Star Wars universe boat. There are literally millions less people reading them than watching the films or shows so this gives them freedom to play with all the toys as long as everything is put back in the right place in the timeline when they are finished. This has allowed them to do things such as have Luke and Vader meet before ‘The Empire Strikes Back’ and introduce Han Solo’s ‘wife’. These things create a lot of social media noise but you are not missing out on important storytelling if you only watch the films. With ‘War Of The Bounty Hunters’ they are at it again.

Charles Soule is telling the story of Boba Fett delivering Han Solo to Jabba after the events of ‘The Empire Strikes Back’. Unfortunately for Fett the frozen Solo is stolen by a mysterious hooded female at the first opportunity and an open bounty is put on his head. This triggers him to go on a Liam Neeson ‘Taken’-esque rampage that sees him apparently kill Zuckuss and 4-LOM and takes him to the doors of Jabba’s palace in search of answers.

Jabba has put the contract out because he knows Fett no longer has Solo. In classic Star Wars tradition, somehow something has returned and is offering to selling Solo to Jabba. This something is a group that poses a threat that makes the Hutts worried enough to have a meeting of the clan leaders and if this group’s new leader defeated the previous one she must be someone of great power.

The big reveal (and the click bait) is that the mysterious figure is Qi’ra, Emilia Clarke’s character from ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’, and the group is Maul’s former criminal empire Crimson Dawn. When asked by one of her subordinates why she wants Han Solo she says it’s because do whatever it is she is upto she needs something that will get everyone’s attention and he is “directly connected to almost every powerful faction in the galaxy”. Without knowing what her plan is, this is a story logic that makes sense. Solo is connected to the Empire, the Rebels, the Hutts, and the Bounty Hunters. As the set up for a line wide comicbook crossover this works as everyone has a stake in what is going on. The reintroduction of Qi’ra is also enough of a mystery to keep you interested. Is she now a full-blown crime boss looking to put her stamp on the galaxy or is her motivation solely to rescue Solo as he once rescued her?

With ‘Solo: A Star Wars Story’ now having found an audience after disappointing at the box-office upon release Soule must have been aware that bringing back Qi’ra would cause a stir and they did well keeping it quiet until the comic was released. But I’m not sure that this is the place to do it. We already know where this story ends up and there is no way that Qi’ra comes out on top so straight away the stakes are lowered. I feel that they are limiting the storytelling with her here as opposed to if they had given her a comic set closer to the events of ‘Solo’ where there is no defined outcome. Now, I know this still could happen but this feels like it could be an ending for the character. Also, you know if they decide to do anything Live-Action with the character it will most likely negate anything that happens here.

If you ignore the click bait around the issue you get some solid Fett action and Qi’ra’s return is interesting even if I’m not sold on it happening here. On a side note, hopefully this isn’t the end of 4-LOM and Zuckuss (fingers crossed because they do have a one-shot coming up).

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